OAKLAND – The recent move by a local battered women’s shelter to highlight the issue of male victims of domestic violence, especially as it relates to teen dating violence, comes on the heel of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center report showing more male than female high school students experiencing some sort of dating violence within the 12 months preceding the survey.
Defined as being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend, teen dating violence dropped slightly between 2009 and 2011, according to CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance reports. In 2009, 9.8 percent of student respondents reported some sort of hurtful encounter with an intimate partner; for 2011, it was 9.4 percent of students. In 2003, the percentage was 8.9.
While overall numbers of down – including for the amount of male victims of dating violence – the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data continue to show more high school boys than girls being victimized by an intimate partner.
Curtailing domestic violence can help lower overall violent incidents, experts say. Efforts focused on exposing the needs of battered women and children have spawned myriad support agencies, groups and related services and shelters. The results have been a continual decline in the overall incidents of nonfatal intimate violence; however, for males the drop has been minimal to none.
US Bureau of Justice Department statistics show although the current rate of victimization for females – about 4 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2005 – is down from 10 in 1993; the rate for males remained stable between 2004 and 2005 – about 1 per 1,000 persons – and have varied between a high of about 2 in 1994 to a low of 0.7 in 2002 and 2003.
Moreover, a recent CDC data revealed more men than women were pushed, shoved or slapped by an intimate partner. Its 2010 summary of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicates that 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have “experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” An estimated 2.7 percent of women (approximately 3.2 million) and 2 percent of men (about 2.3 million) reported experiencing these behaviors in the 12 months preceding the survey. Yet other data reveal that 1 in 4 men (25.7 percent or about 29 million) versus 1 in 3 women (30.3 percent or 36.2 million) were "slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner” in their lifetime. Of these, about 5 million men (4.5 percent) – versus about 4.3 million women (3.6 percent) – report the same behaviors occurring in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.
Those advocating for male victims of domestic violence and other experts say men’s failure to report the assaults has led to the steady numbers and a dearth of services and research funds for the issue. It also plays a factor in the number of male victims exceeding their female counterparts in terms of certain types of intimate partner violence.
Hoping to highlight this issue at this year’s anniversary fundraising gala, A Safe Place – Oakland’s only shelter for battered women and children – selected Mr. USA 2012, Chavis Aaron, to serve as master of ceremonies for its 35th annual event held Saturday at Sequoyah Country Club. About 100 guests enjoyed a dinner, silent auction, music and dancing as well as short show topped off with an appearance by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.
A Safe Place has provided shelter, comprehensive domestic violence programs, services, support, education and outreach to battered women and children since 1978. Today it also serves men – both abusers and victims – as well as teens, said Andrea Turner, a founding member and current president of A Safe Place board of directors.
“Things have really changed since 1978 when we started our domestic violence program and focused only on women and children,” Turner said. “Our services have really broadened to include men and a teen dating violence prevention program. By starting with the youth, we can have a greater impact in helping eradicate overall societal violence.”
In a year, more than 12 million women and men in the United States are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner; on average, that’s 24 people per minute, according to findings released in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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